American born Kobe Bryant grew up in Italy while his dad was playing for an Italian basketball team. Now this polyglot basketball star is funding Chinese classes for children in Los Angeles through his Kobe Bryant Family Foundation. This is the first time I can think of when a prominent sports figure is supporting foreign language education. Grazie! Sie-sie! (“Thank you” in Italian and Chinese.)
The Confucius Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles and Kobe Bryant are helping children learn Mandarin Chinese and Wushu, a martial arts discipline. Mixing foreign language learning with a physical activity that will both keep the kids awake and get them interested in Chinese culture is a great idea. Learning a foreign language is about much more than memorizing Chinese characters and trying to learn the four tones of the language, it’s about engaging the mind, body and spirit in the activity.
Learn more in this article by the Xinhua News Service: